AWS Directory Service vs Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between AWS Directory Service and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed AWS Directory Service vs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Report (Updated: January 2023).
672,411 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"We like the fact that it's got such great redundancy.""The most valuable feature is that because it's all in the cloud, you don't need to manage the infrastructure.""Provides good performance and availability.""AWS handles everything on the backend requiring minimal legwork from our team. We only require a dedicated database administrator while depending on Amazon for RDS.""AWS Directory Service is secure.""AWS has eliminated the downtime we waste when our on-premises resources go down.""Two-step authentication is very useful and important.""The support is very good. I would rate the technical support as a nine out of ten."

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"It is one of those costs where you can't really quantify a return on investment. In the grand scheme of things, if we didn't have it, we would probably have a lot more breaches. It would be a lot harder to detect issues because we would have people using static usernames and passwords for various sites, making us open to a lot more attacks. The amount of security and benefit that we get out of it is not quantifiable but the return of investment from a qualitative point of view is much higher than not having it.""Using [Azure AD's] passwordless technology, you're not even using a password anymore. You're basically just creating a logon request without actually sending or typing or storing the password. This is awesome for any user, regardless of whether you're a factory worker or a CFO. It's secure and super-simple.""The solution has some great features, such as identity governance, and user self-service. The Outlook application is very good and is used by a lot of people even if they are using Google services.""I like that you can run it on-premises. I also like that I can use Azure at any time as the main one.""Very stable and scalable IAM service with good SSO and authentication features.""The security and infrastructure management features are the most valuable ones for us.""Azure Active Directory provides us with identity-based authentication, which secures access at the user level and also integrates with conditional access policies and multi-factor authentication helping to increase the identity security for that person. So, the hacking and leaking of passwords is a secondary problem because you will not authenticate a person with one factor. There is a second factor of authentication available to increase the security premise for your company.""If you want to replicate a website at the frontend in Azure, it's very easy to do it globally."

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"The AWS Directory Service should be easier to integrate.""Some of the security protocols are difficult to understand.""Our only complaint is that you cannot integrate your Exchange server. Or, if you are planning to install an Exchange server on your Amazon EC2 instance, then you need to configure Active Directory on EC2 instance. We would like for this limitation to be lifted.""We had a problem with the schema uploading and setting up the directory when we are migrating our users from on-premises to cloud infrastructure.""To get CloudWatch to monitor your memory and storage, you have to do some configuration within your server, which sometimes results in errors.""I would like to grant partial access to a table contained in a database without having to provide full access to the whole database.""The solution lacks certain features.""Can be improved by including on-premises access for services through Identity Access Management."

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"I want to see new functionalities for the active directory.""Azure AD needs to be more in sync. The synchronization can be time-consuming.""From time to time it takes a little bit of time to replicate, with some of the applications—something like five to 10 minutes. I know that the design is not supposed to enable real-time replication with some of the applications. But, as an administrator, I would like to run a specific change or modification in Azure Active Directory and see it replicated almost immediately.""The technical support could improve by having a faster response time.""The B2B Federation functionality is not perfect and could be improved. It is not on the same level that we could have if it were being used on-premises. It offers a different experience, which is a bit complicated and has some additional drawbacks.""I want better integration between Azure AD and the on-prem environment because there are currently limitations that can hamper employee experience. We use a feature called password writeback, that can be challenging to implement in a hybrid environment. Employees can change their passwords using a self-service password reset (SSPR) feature, which reflects from the cloud to the on-prem identity, but not the other way around. Currently, there is no way to reflect passwords from on-prem identities to the cloud.""Though the installation was seamless, it took longer than expected to be completed.""Definitely, the price could be lower. When we moved from AWS to Azure, we started paying more."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The pricing depends because with AWS there are two types of directory objects: 30,000 and 500,000. It varies. AWS provides the pricing calculators so we can get an estimate from there as per the company requirement of how many users and objects that we need to create. So we can go to that portal, put in the data, and get the quotation. There are no extra licensing fees. It's all included."
  • "AWS' pricing is fair, and costs can be cut if you look carefully at when you're using it."
  • "We pay an annual subscription fee."
  • More AWS Directory Service Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "We got a good deal. If you get rid of all the products providing features that Azure Suite can provide, then it makes sense cost-wise."
  • "Microsoft has a free version of Azure AD. So, if you don't do a lot of advanced features, then you can use the free version, which is no cost at all because it is underpinning Office 365. Because Microsoft gives it to you as a SaaS, so there are no infrastructure costs whatsoever that you need to incur. If you use the free version, then it is free. If you use the advanced features (that we use), it is a license fee per user."
  • "Make sure that you get the most out of your Office 365 licenses for Azure AD. If you have additional concerns for users who don't have an Office 365 license, consider Azure AD Premium P1 and P2. Be aware that you have to evaluate your license usage beforehand."
  • "If you have a different IDP today, I would take a close look at what your licensing looks like, then reevaluate the licensing that you have with Microsoft 365, and see if you're covered for some of this other stuff. Folks sometimes don't realize that, "Oh, I'm licensed for that service in Azure." This becomes one of those situations where you have the "aha" moment, "Oh, I didn't know we can do that. Alright, let's go down this road." Then, they start to have conversations with Microsoft to see what they can gain. I would recommend that they work closely with their TAM, just to make sure that they are getting the right level of service. They may just not be aware of what is available to them."
  • "If you are dealing with one supplier with an out-of-the-box solution, which provides you end-to-end capabilities, then it is naturally cheaper and less of a headache to manage and operate."
  • "Be sure: You know your userbase, e.g., how many users you have. You choose the right license and model that suit your business requirements."
  • "For the Czech people, the solution is not cheap, as we are not a rich country. However, for most countries, the product pricing is acceptable."
  • "Everything needs to be considered for the requirements and if it is within the budget, then you can come up with a solution, whether it is SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS."
  • More Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) Pricing and Cost Advice →

    Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) solutions are best for your needs.
    672,411 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:What is the essential advantage of AWS registry administrations? The essential advantage of carrying out AWS Directory Service is that associations can now broaden AD characters and the board… more »
    Top Answer:Two-step authentication is very useful and important.
    Top Answer:Azure Active Directory's single sign-on feature has been helpful because users don't need to authenticate again and again each time they access it. Users only need to sign in the first time, and Azure… more »
    Top Answer:Active Directory is bundled with a package of Microsoft services, so it doesn't cost much. I don't know about the individual license of Active Directory.
    Top Answer:Microsoft services and most familiar third-party applications are currently supported, but we can't find many other platforms that integrate with Office 365 or Azure Active Directory. Microsoft should… more »
    Average Words per Review
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    Also Known As
    AWS Managed Microsoft AD
    Azure Active Directory
    Learn More

    AWS Directory Service lets you run Microsoft Active Directory (AD) as a managed service. AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also referred to as AWS Managed Microsoft AD, is powered by Windows Server 2012 R2. When you select and launch this directory type, it is created as a highly available pair of domain controllers connected to your virtual private cloud (VPC). The domain controllers run in different Availability Zones in a region of your choice. Host monitoring and recovery, data replication, snapshots, and software updates are automatically configured and managed for you.

    Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), part of Microsoft Entra, is an enterprise identity service that provides single sign-on, multifactor authentication, and conditional access to guard against 99.9 percent of cybersecurity attacks.

    Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is a cloud-based identity and access management service. This service helps your employees access external resources, such as Microsoft 365, the Azure portal, and thousands of other SaaS applications. Azure Active Directory also helps them access internal resources like apps on your corporate intranet network, along with any cloud apps developed for your own organization.

    Azure AD is intended for:

    • IT admins: As an IT admin, use Azure AD to control access to your apps and your app resources, based on your business requirements. For example, you can use Azure AD to require multi-factor authentication when accessing important organizational resources. You can also use Azure AD to automate user provisioning between your existing Windows Server AD and your cloud apps, including Microsoft 365. Finally, Azure AD gives you powerful tools to automatically help protect user identities and credentials and to meet your access governance requirements.
    • App developers: As an app developer, you can use Azure AD as a standards-based approach for adding single sign-on (SSO) to your app, allowing it to work with a user's pre-existing credentials. Azure AD also provides APIs that can help you build personalized app experiences using existing organizational data. 
    • Microsoft 365, Office 365, Azure, or Dynamics CRM Online subscribers: As a subscriber, you're already using Azure AD. Each Microsoft 365, Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics CRM Online tenant is automatically an Azure AD tenant. You can immediately start to manage access to your integrated cloud apps.
    Learn more about AWS Directory Service
    Learn more about Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)
    Sample Customers
    Expedia, Intuit, Royal Dutch Shell, Brooks Brothers
    Azure Active Directory is trusted by companies of all sizes and industries including Walmart, Zscaler, Uniper, Amtrak,, and more.
    Top Industries
    Computer Software Company20%
    Comms Service Provider9%
    Energy/Utilities Company8%
    Financial Services Firm15%
    Computer Software Company13%
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Energy/Utilities Company6%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Financial Services Firm12%
    Comms Service Provider9%
    Company Size
    Small Business50%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise30%
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise62%
    Small Business32%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise54%
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise66%
    Buyer's Guide
    AWS Directory Service vs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)
    January 2023
    Find out what your peers are saying about AWS Directory Service vs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and other solutions. Updated: January 2023.
    672,411 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    AWS Directory Service is ranked 7th in Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) with 9 reviews while Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is ranked 1st in Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) with 101 reviews. AWS Directory Service is rated 8.6, while Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is rated 8.8. The top reviewer of AWS Directory Service writes "Extends AD identity and management capabilities to AWS resources". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) writes "With multi-factor authentication, we've seen a marked decrease in the number of threats we've seen come through". AWS Directory Service is most compared with JumpCloud, Okta Workforce Identity, SailPoint IdentityIQ, Google Cloud Identity and Oracle Identity Cloud Service, whereas Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is most compared with Google Cloud Identity, Auth0, CyberArk Privileged Access Manager, PingFederate and Okta Workforce Identity. See our AWS Directory Service vs. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) report.

    See our list of best Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) vendors.

    We monitor all Identity and Access Management as a Service (IDaaS) (IAMaaS) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.